- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said the United States should let Russia fight it out against the Islamic State terrorist group in Syria, saying Syrian President Bashar Assad looks better to him than the alternative.

“We have ISIS, and ISIS wants to go after Assad, but we’re knocking the hell out of ‘em — even though it’s not a very full-blown thing, we’re still droppin’ bombs all over the place and, you know, look, they’re not exactly loving life over in Syria,” he said of the terrorist group, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

“So we’re stopping them, to a certain extent, from going after Assad,” he said in an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett. “You have Russia that’s now there. Russia’s on the side of Assad, and Russia wants to get rid of ISIS as much as we do, if not more, because they don’t want ‘em coming into Russia.”

The United States has consistently called for Mr. Assad to step down, but he has remained in power with the help of allies like Russia.

“And I’m saying, ‘Why are we knocking ISIS and yet at the same time we’re against Assad?’ Let them fight, take over the remnants. But more importantly, let Russia fight ISIS, if they want to fight ‘em … in Syria,” Mr. Trump said.

“Let Syria and ISIS fight. Why do we care?” he said.

“We have to get rid of ISIS, very importantly, but I look at Assad, and Assad to me looks better than the other side,” he said. “And you know, this has happened before. We back a certain side, and that side turns out to be a total catastrophe. Russia likes Assad, seemingly, a lot — let them worry about ISIS. Let them fight it out.”

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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